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Herons Bonsai Blog - Keeping you up to date in the world of bonsai

We have updated our chinese elm tree pages, and have a wonderful collection of chinese elm trees for sale, stunning Japanese imports, and home grown indoor and outdoor trees.

 Care of Indoor Bonsai

Indoor Bonsai are not difficult to look after. 

These are the Basic care requirements 


———— Location ————

Bright airy room with lots of light. Try to keep it in direct sunlight if possible. We suggest a window sill as the best position away from any heat sources (Central heating, Radiator)


———— Temperature ————

Keep in a cool room -10-15C best for most Indoor varieties (Elm, Ilex, Podocarpus, Citrus, Pepper, Olive, Pomegranate, Loropetalum, Buxus, Sageretia ). These varieties do not like a warm room. If the room is too warm, they dry out quickly and their leaves get weak and straggly.  The Elm can in fact be grown outdoors all year round as it is an indoor or outdoor bonsai.


10-15 C - Ideal for most Indoor bonsai 

15-20 C - Ideal for Ficus, Jade, Serissa and Carmona 



———— Watering ————

Watering is the key to keeping the bonsai alive. If you forget to water for a few days, the tree could die.

Keep soil damp at all times but not soggy wet

Spray the leaves occasionally to create humidity.



———— Pruning Shoots ————

Prune new growth regularly to maintain the shape of the bonsai.

If you don't prune often the tree will lose its shape and become straggly.

Prune when new shoots grow which is normally in Spring and Summer. 



———— Pruning Roots or Re-potting ————

Re-pot or root prune only when the tree gets pot bound,

Usually every two or three years.

Spring is the best time for doing this.

Prune enough roots off to make space for new soil.


———— Feeding ————

Feed once a month during the growing season usually Spring- Summer.

Use liquid or pellet fertiliser.

Most people buy their first bonsai tree because they think it is attractive or will suit their decor. But this is not a good basis on which to make a choice. If you are a beginner, you should select a species that is easy to keep and that is appropriate for the conditions you are able to offer. 
The best place to buy a bonsai and bonsai accessories is a specialist bonsai nursery. Finding sources should not be difficult if you have access to the internet, for example (herons.co.uk), but take care before you purchase, as many so-called ‘specialists’ are not experts at all. They are middle men who have little or no experience or knowledge of bonsai. If you are serious about making your first purchase, then seek a second opinion about potential sources from a local bonsai club or horticultural society for example (rhsplants.co.uk). Some large garden centres stock bonsai and may even have a resident expert to give you advice.
If you want to buy on the internet, make sure the firm is a reputable one. Download details of the address and telephone number, so that you can get in touch with the supplier if there are any problems. A specialist nursery, which gives personal advice, is always best, especially if you need an aftercare service such as; repotting, care and advice. Department stores, shopping malls and hardware stores do not offer bonsai an ideal living environment, and trees sold from such outlets are rarely in good condition. The staff are also unlikely to know anything about growing and caring for bonsai or will not be able to offer any bonsai accessories; pots, tools, and will not be able to give you any aftercare regarding re-potting etc. If you are a beginner, avoid attempting to grow a tree from seeds or cuttings. It is perfectly possible to grow bonsai this way (Coming Soon), but it can be a long and sometimes tedious process for a beginner.
Space at home is another factor to think about before you make your first purchase. Although bonsai may be small in size, a collection of just a few trees can soon occupy all the available space in your garden. Many enthusiasts like to display their trees in authentic oriental garden settings, this involves constructing suitable display areas to show off the trees. Once these displays are put in place, the bonsai look stunning. However you would have to dedicate a large area of your garden to this type of arrangement - and that might not accord with the way the rest of your family would like to use the area. 
By joining a bonsai or gardening club, you can collect some really valuable research into bonsai from your local neighbourhood which can bring invaluable advice about where and what to buy. Buying on impulse is generally a bad idea, especially if your purchase is from a non-specialist centre such as a shopping centre, market or superstore.
Visiting exhibitions is an excellent way to see top-quality bonsai (Such as RHS Wisley in Surrey), while many nurseries and bonsai clubs put on incredible displays too. You can derive inspiration from the plants on display, and as you get drawn into the hobby you may get the feeling of wanting to exhibit your own bonsai in the future. National bonsai organisations  and local bonsai clubs will be able to give you more information into such events. [Subscribe/follow for the next blog on choosing your first bonsai]
There are many ways of starting to keep bonsai, but the easiest is to buy a plant from a reputable nursery or specialist bonsai centre. However before you do so, it is well worth finding our more about bonsai.
What is involved?
bonsai keeping is quite a time-consuming pastime, and you should be prepared to water them on a regular basis if you want to keep your trees alive. Watering is by far the most important task because bonsai are always grown in containers (often shallow ones) and so depending entirely on their owner for their water supply. In summer, your bonsai will need to be watered once or even sometimes, twice a day. Even in winter, when there is normally an ample supply of natural rain, bonsai that are kept outside require watering during dry spell, while indoor bonsai will need watering all year round.
Before you go away on holiday you miss make arrangements for the care of your bonsai. Some enthusiasts take their bonsai to a nursery (some bonsai nursery’s like herons bonsai offer lifetime care for free), and others arrange bonsai ‘sitters’ or ‘minders’ to look after their bonsai while they are away. Fortunately, the development of the automatic irrigation systems has made both holiday and general watering care much easier, however hand watering is always better.
Other important chores involved in bonsai care include pruning and pinching new shoots during the growing season. If your plants are vigorous, this can be a time-consuming task. Follow/subscribe to us for part II.
During the period following the Second World War when China was in turmoil, the Japanese began to develop bonsai in their inimitable style. The US occupying forces in Japan and the Japanese immigrant community in the USA then made bonsai more widely known in the West, and during the second half of the 20th Century the interest in bonsai ‘mushroomed’.
Today there is no corner of the world where bonsai could not be found. There have become established in most Asian countries, including India, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka. They have also recently become popular throughout Europe and North America, and they are grown in Australia, Africa and South America. There is hardly a country today where the fine art of bonsai is not practiced. 
There is undoubtedly a unique Japanese style of bonsai and a unique Chinese style also, but there are now some very distinct European and North American styles, because each nation has interpreted the art of bonsai in their own way and stamped its imprint on the tradition. Each culture has learned to express its identity through the beauty of these miniature trees. This is why keeping bonsai is such a fascinating art and such a widespread hobby today.
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